Commentary: Not just glitz and glamour – it’s hard work being an influencer

When creators don’t know where their next pay cheque is coming from, they are often willing to do anything that’ll bring them money. This creates a destructive cycle where creators sell for less, companies pay less for skilled services, and creators have to work longer to make ends meet.


But perhaps change, in terms of transparent pricing terms and monetisation models, is coming when brands are realising the power of creators in connecting with consumers. A study by Nielsen and Rakuten released in September found that 89 per cent of social media users across Asia follow influencers, with China, the Philippines and India seeing the highest percentages.

Of these followers, four in five say they are more likely to buy products that influencers recommend, with product reviews being the most appealing type of content except in China, where users favour product demos. Marketers need to take note that consumers will actively seek out creators’ voices when making purchasing decisions.

Even governments are jumping on the bandwagon in using influencers to promote programmes and policies. Indonesian government ministries, for instance, spent US$6.3 million (S$8.87 milllion) on influencer marketing from 2017 to 2020, with the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry spending the most.

Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has gone a step further and in November last year, announced a training scheme for local creators to learn skills in content marketing, audience engagement and data analytics for the purpose of monetisation and expanding overseas.

As the sector continues to develop, the regulatory landscape will also mature, demanding accountability from both brands and creators while offering more protection to the consumers. In time, creators will have a bigger toolkit for growth, and perhaps overdue acknowledgment that they do have a real job.

Rohith Murthy is Group General Manager of Creatory by Hyphen Group, a brand and platform for creators.

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